The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.

Farmer capacity building in Barbados

Project

 

Digitalisation

In Barbados, smallholders constitute the majority of farmers engaged in agriculture, however, they are not always able to access the resources needed to make their operations viable, and to access high-value and reliable markets. In order to help these farmers increase their productivity and produce quality, and to more adequately meet the demands of local buyers, CTA worked with the Barbados Agriculture Society (BAS) to deliver farmer training. Through this capacity building project, CTA also aimed to facilitate sustainable linkages among the agricultural, tourism and manufacturing sectors in order to expand market opportunities for farmers.

Aim

In Barbados, smallholders constitute the majority of farmers engaged in agriculture, however, they are not always able to access the resources needed to make their operations viable, and to access high-value and reliable markets. In order to help these farmers increase their productivity and produce quality, and to more adequately meet the demands of local buyers, CTA worked with the Barbados Agriculture Society (BAS) to deliver farmer training. Through this capacity building project, CTA also aimed to facilitate sustainable linkages among the agricultural, tourism and manufacturing sectors in order to expand market opportunities for farmers.

Approach

An important activity of the project was creating a farmer rating system for the integration of small-scale producers, including women and youth, into BAS’s marketing arrangements for the supply of products to consumers. The project identified five commodity value chains – sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, pumpkins/watermelons and tomatoes – for development.

To increase the capacities of farmers, training was provided using farm-centred methods, such as farmer field schools, as well as via presentations. The in-field sessions were adopted to more aptly demonstrate and reinforce the seminar presentations and ensure maximum participation by farmers. 

Activities

The project ran from May to November, 2017, and included the following activities:

  • Three initial workshops were held (7/06,17 19/07/17 and 19/07/17) to allow stakeholders (farmers representatives, buyers and institutional actors) to participate in the determination of the type of training to be provided. 
  • Twelve training workshops focusing on good agricultural practices, record keeping, database management, fertigation and market standards were delivered. 
  • Effective planting programmes and the identification of appropriate cultivation techniques for onions were explained to participants. Similar actions have been continued after the project with the four other selected value chains. 
  • A Management Evaluation and Rating System was developed to evaluate the performance of farms and farm operations as a mechanism for farmers selected by BAS’s board members for annual awards. 
  • A training manual on how to improve farm operations was developed for use within the workshops and will be used at subsequent annual workshops held by BAS. 

Impact

Over 200 farmers were trained under the project and BAS has conducted two further workshops in 2018 – with 60 farmers attending both workshops.

As a result of the training in market standards, produce pricing and quality, the small-scale farmers have been able to access new markets, such as local hotels and supermarkets.

Quantities of the commodities being traded through BAS i.e. the five crops identified by the project, has increased. The market for local produce is expanding and farmers are being offered contracts to supply Massy Super Centre, for example, with increased amounts of produce.

Farmers were able to show more consistent income streams by sale of produce to BAS. The project also facilitated market linkages with other buyers outside of BAS, which the participants have been able to tap into.

The membership of BAS increased during the project, with more farmers participating in BAS forums and joining member bodies. In addition, more farmers took advantage of the market linkage facilitation service provided by BAS, with existing farmers mentoring new members in the process.

Partners

Implementing partners

Country focus